When mi check it out Lawd! No wey nuh betta dan yawd! Let me add another verse to this famous song. When yu cyan ongly ‘ford fi walk, no whey no betta dan New York. All jokes aside, when you can’t get home there is no need to worry.You can find almost everything Jamaican, mi sey everyting (man and woman included) in New York. It is not called “the mecca” for nothing. The largest influx of Jamaicans to New York occurred first in the mid 1960’s and again in the mid 1980’s. Despite a great exodus by many to other states or back home, (sometimes by force) many Jamaicans still reside in the Big Apple. The 2000 Census results showed that over 500,000 Caribbeans are living in New York City with Jamaicans and Haitians as the largest groups. The top boroughs with heavy representation of Jamaicans are: Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx. These are the boroughs that will be discussed. I will also include Long Island, which has smaller representation but JA is definitely present. Some may argue this, but the boroughs by region alone that tie for the most Jamaicans, would definitely be Brooklyn and Queens. Listed below are some areas of Brooklyn, Queens and Bronx that have a large concentration of fellow yardies.
Brooklyn – Flatbush, East Flatbush, Crown Heights, Carnasie and Midwood. Drive along commercial Flatbush Ave., as it takes you through several neighborhoods. There are legal van drivers who proudly display their flag from JA or from some other part of the Caribbean and they will take you anywhere on the Flatbush Ave. bus route, faster and cheaper than the bus. Van drivers are also on other commercial strips such as Church Avenue, Glenwood Rd. and Utica Ave. Big up all van drivers!
Queens/Long Island – Jamaica, South Jamaica, East Elmhurst, St. Albans, Lawrence, Laurelton and Rosedale are all areas that have a large Jamaican population. In addition, van drivers are also along Merrick Blvd. and Jamaica Ave., as well as other commercial parts of Queens.
Bronx – Unlike the other boroughs, it seems that Jamaicans are condensed in specific areas of the Bronx. North Bronx areas have a large Jamaican population, streets like White Plains Rd., Gunther Ave., Boston Rd., Fish and Barnes Avenue, Allerton Ave, etc. The older residents of some of these areas are still there as well, more so in the Castle Hill section. Neighboring Mt. Vernon has a section of middle class Jamaicans on the residential side. New Rochelle although a small town, definitely has Jamaican representation. As for any areas that might not have been included, it was not intentional, this is just an overview.